Joanna Yeates Trial: From Missing Reports To Tabak's Sentencing
share this story
Joanna Yeates' Friday evening started out like many people’s will this evening. She went for a few drinks with her colleagues on her way back from work, the night she was to be murdered. She told them that she was “dreading” spending the weekend alone, without her boyfriend Greg Reardon. CCTV images show her making her way home alone on the cold winter evening.
When home, Yeates started making mince pies in her flat that was already decorated with tinsel ready for Christmas. According to Vincent Tabak’s version of events, Yeates invited her neighbour in, and made a flirty remark. Encouraged, Tabak tried to kiss her. But hearing her scream, he said he put her hands around her neck and accidentally strangled her to death, trying to stop the noise.
Dumping her body on a snowy roadside, Yeates’ disappearance was noticed. Her parents made a heartfelt plea for their daughter to return. Tabak went on holiday to Holland leaving Yeates’ body to be found frozen on Christmas morning.
Making headlines around the world, Tabak contacted Avon and Somerset Police and tried to implicate Yeates’ landlord in the murder. Christopher Jefferies was arrested.
But by New Year’s day Jefferies was released, with nothing to link him to the scene of the crime. Three weeks later Tabak’s DNA evidence linked him to Yeates’ body and he was arrested and charged with her murder.
Newspapers have followed Yeates’ trial in anatomical detail. Details of her tomato, mozzarella and basil pizza from a supermarket and the two bottles of cider from an off-license were shown to audiences.
Readers followed the documented evidence as if they were the jury themselves. Semi-voyeuristic pictures of the dead girl’s flat emerged, and combined with the human details such as Joanna’s missing sock, readers became intimate with Yeates’ life and death.
Tabak’s admission that he couldn’t believe he committed the murder have shocked those following the case. Even his defence lawyers called his actions to try and cover up her death “disgusting”, driving to Asda to buy crisps with the young architect’s body in the boot of his car.
Tabak was charged with murder and will not be released for at least 20 years. The judge did not allow videos of women being strangled, found on Tabak’s computer, to be used as evidence.
The PHD graduate who had a girlfriend who was described as “the love of his life” hid a darker sexual side. In the weeks that led up to Yeates’ death, he visited a prostitute on a business trip and watched fetishistic videos that showed women being stuffed into the boot of a car, a fate that he was to inflict on Joanna Yeates.